Sunday, July 7, 2024

Brazil Indicts Bolsonaro Over Undeclared Diamonds

Brasília, July 5, 2024 — Brazil’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been indicted for embezzlement involving diamond jewelry he received from Saudi Arabia, according to reports from the Associated Press and Reuters.

During Bolsonaro’s presidency, the Saudi government gifted him and his wife jewelry valued at $3.2 million (€2.96 million), including a diamond necklace, a ring, luxury watches, and earrings. In 2021, customs officials at São Paulo’s international airport seized some of this jewelry from the backpack of a government aide returning from Riyadh.

Supreme Court Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes ordered an investigation, revealing that some items had been sold without the sale being declared. On Thursday, security sources reported that Brazil’s federal police indicted Bolsonaro for money laundering and criminal association linked to the jewelry.

Pending Supreme Court Action

Despite the indictment, the Supreme Court has not yet received the police report necessary to proceed with the case.

Reactions from the Accused

Flavio Bolsonaro, the former president’s eldest son and a sitting senator, denounced the indictment on social media, calling it an example of “blatant and shameless” persecution of his father.

In addition to Bolsonaro, police indicted 10 others, including his lawyers Frederick Wassef and Fabio Wajngarten. Wassef defended his actions, stating, “I am going through all of this solely for practicing law in defense of Jair Bolsonaro.” Wajngarten asserted his innocence, saying, “The Federal Police knows I did nothing related to what they are investigating, but they still want to punish me because I provide unwavering and permanent defense for former President Bolsonaro.”

Ongoing Legal Troubles

This indictment marks Bolsonaro’s second since leaving office. In May, he was indicted for allegedly falsifying his COVID-19 vaccination records.

The investigation continues to unfold, with the Supreme Court’s next steps eagerly anticipated by both supporters and critics of the former president.

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